Norway's delegation was in place at the UN Arms Convention in Geneva in April. For the fifth year in a row, they would discuss the regulation of autonomous weapons systems. Also in place was the Norwegian Peace Team (NFL), as a member of the international campaign to stop killing robots.
The development of self-managed technology is in full swing – even in the military. Killing robots that can identify and attack a target without human intervention are under development. Technology companies have predicted a "third war revolution" and are warning of the risk of international security. They are already seeing the start of a new arms race, and fear that the technology, which is still technical and narrow, may behave in undesirable ways, or be hacked and released. This is scary and that is why we are here.
The Pentagon recently offered Google a multi-billion dollar contract to equip artificial intelligence drones.
Responsibility cannot be delegated to a machine. The Norwegian Peace Team wants to ban weapons systems with autonomy in critical functions. Allowing weapons systems to identify and attack a target – without meaningful human control – is a clear violation of humanitarian law. The story is clear: the decision on who to live and die in war can never be left to a machine, but must be guarded "by humanitarian principles and by the demands of public conscience". It's us humans. It is we who have a "right to life" and thus the right to exercise self-defense in war. Responsibility is ours and can never be delegated to a machine.
In the front at the NFL, the Campaign stands to stop killing robots, which have faced a ban on killing robots since 2012. After 5 years in the Arms Convention, it is now urgent to put in place an international law. The technology is developing faster than the diplomatic processes and international law is lagging behind. We must put in place a protocol that prohibits killing robots as quickly as possible.
It's urgent. High-tech military states such as the United States are investing heavily in the development of self-directed technology. The Pentagon recently offered Google a multi-billion dollar contract to equip artificial intelligence drones. In South Korea, weapons manufacturer Hanwha Systems – the company that still produces cluster munitions – has sought to partner with KAIST University (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) to develop killer robots. Both Google employees and prominent academics have responded strongly to the collaborations. Over 3000 Google employees write that the collaboration is unacceptable and directly contradicts their core values. They will never help build this technology.
The technology is developing faster than the diplomatic processes and international law is lagging behind.
To prevent robots from being programmed to calculate who will live and die, there is no time or money to waste: governments must act now. The world community must draw a normative line and prohibit killing robots. In April, Austria joined the list and set a precedent for Norway and other European states. So did the African Group and China. It is hoped that more and more states are calling for a ban, but big states like the US and Russia are for development and why is the "peace country Norway" sitting quietly in the boat?
Political pressure altogether necessary. Norway is a small country in the world, but as a humanitarian superpower and as the owner of the world's largest money fund, it is essential that Norway helps to lead the way.
Johan H. Andresen is the head of the Norwegian Petroleum Fund's Council on Ethics and has previously expressed concern about the development of murder robots. Now he hopes that the UN Arms Convention can agree on guidelines. Then there is political pressure at home alpha omega. We all need to get involved and think about our future. With enough political pressure, the Weapons Convention will ensure meaningful human control over autonomous weapons systems.